Giovanni Battista PAGGI- 1554 – 1627
The Crucifixion of Saint Andrew
Genoese School

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Pen and brown ink, brown wash, over black chalk

31.6 x 22.7 cm

Euro : 3700,-

Giovanni Battista Paggi, born in Genoa in 1554, was a pupil of Luca Cambiaso but he was mainly a self taught artist. He was a recognized painter in Genoa, and has been often cited as accelerating the activity and influencing the draughtsmanship of nearly every painter in Genoa in the early seventeenth century. After a quarrel in his native city in 1579, Paggi fled to Florence and Pisa, where he remained for over twenty years. In Tuscany, he was in contact with Cigoli, Liggozi and Passignano. He returned to Genoa in 1599, bringing with him the Florentine artistic ideas, which soon made him the head of the painting Academy. Giovanni Battista Paggi died in his native city in 1627.

Paggi's treatise "Definitione e Divisione della Pittra" published in 1607 attack the old guild laws and urge for new reforms. He wrote: "Art can very well be learned without a master because the foremost requirement for its study is a knowledge of theory, based on mathematics, geometry, arithmetic, philosophy and other noble sciences which can be gleaned from books". This philosophy can be seen in Paggi's drawings and paintings which combine the sfumato, delicate colorations of Tuscany with geometric elements from Cambiaso. Charting a new course for Genoese art, Paggi's draughtsmanship, which is clear and strong, made an impact on his pupils: Domenico Capellino, Fiasella, Scorza, the Montanari brothers and Grechetto. (Mary Newcome, Genoese Baroque Drawings, 1972, p.8).

The present drawing shows Paggi's closeness to Luca Cambiaso and his followers. The minimalistic approach to create the figures with a few pen strokes and to give them the volume through the application of wash, as well as the circular eyes, and the slight hint at Cubism, is typical of Paggi's hand. The drawing should be dated to Paggi's second Genoese period, just after 1599, and can be compared to the "Holy Family with St. John, resting by a Tree" in the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart (inv.no.6328), the "Ecce Homo" and the "Deposition" both in the Hessischen Landesmuseum in Darmstadt (inv.nos.AE.1362, 1355), and the "Communion of a Saint" in the Janos Scholz collection in New York.

A drawing of a similar composition by a contemporary Genoese artist, Giovanni Battista Castello called il Bergamasco, is kept in the Hessischen Landesmuseum in Darmstadt (inv.no.AE.1343). Paggi has moved the entire composition towards the middle of the drawing, giving less attention to the figure of St. Andrea, and instead created a balanced composition with more secondary figures and greater depth with the addition of background figures and an extensive landscape.

 

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